Prior to the pandemic, 14% of people living in Germany felt lonely at least every once in a while. This figure had risen to 42% in 2021. Before Covid, loneliness mainly affected people over the age of 75 years, women, people with a low income and low educational status, people with a migration background, and unemployed people. Today, loneliness is more widespread, affecting more and more young people and couples with children, among others. Social differences, such as income, play less of a role in the experience of loneliness than before.
“Living in Germany” provides the data for a broad initiative of the German government, the “Strategy against Loneliness.” The aim is to increase knowledge about loneliness, thus finding pathways to provide prevention and relief. Loneliness is associated with high health risks: If it persists over a longer period of time, it promotes both mental and physical illnesses. It leads to less life satisfaction and a lower general sense of well-being. People suffering from loneliness are more likely to have depression and sleep problems, alongside an increased risk of coronary heart disease, strokes, or heart attacks.